Bootstraps and Boardrooms
An Op-Ed on how capitalism is supposed to work
One of the basic rules of economics that we all learn in school is the “Law of Supply and Demand.” When the supply is lower than the demand for something, the price for it goes up. Every business applies this concept to its products and services all the time. For example, look at the current cost of building materials like lumber and wire. Unexpected high demand has seriously exceeded the available supply and driven the price for these materials through the roof over the last year or so. However, the effect of this law is not limited to products and services. It applies to everything, including wages as well.
Across the country today many would-be champions of capitalism in business, media and government are screaming about people “not wanting to work anymore.” They are actively blaming workers instead of recognizing the basic fact that, if you can’t get people to accept a job at your current wage and benefit offer, the Law of Supply and Demand dictates you need to improve that offer. If you want to fill these jobs you need to pay more, improve your benefits package, offer full-time hours, institute regular schedules, and make other workplace improvements that will attract potential employees. That’s how the Law of Supply and Demand works. When businesses ignore it, their positions remain unfilled.
These are the same so-called capitalists who complain about social programs that save the working poor while supporting and demanding financial bailouts, tax cuts, and corporate welfare for major corporations and the investor class that runs them.
Don’t let the boardroom propaganda fool you. Many who claim to support capitalism actually support socialism for the investor class and laissez-faire capitalism for everyone else. When things are tough for us, we’re expected to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps or suffer, but when it’s the elites who are struggling, we’re all expected to give them a helping hand with their bootstraps. They are never expected to sacrifice, even when it’s their foolishness that creates the mess. It always falls on the rest of us, as in:
- Layoffs before executive pay cuts.
- Sending production overseas before accepting a lower profit margin.
- Cutting taxes on the investor class then claiming that working class and retiree benefits need to be cut to balance the books.
- Demanding and getting massive bailouts for corporations that make bad choices, but blaming bad choices when people are homeless or starving while opposing doing anything to help them.
The list goes on. The investor class doesn’t care about people, national security, or promises made, and they certainly never accept consequences for their own actions. The only thing that matters to them is profit and expanding portfolios.
This is pure class warfare being waged from the top down, and it is enabled by unfettered financial influence in American politics along with limited participation in government by working people.
We need to band together to defend ourselves in this fight by organizing widespread opposition to these charlatans and running our own for office. If we are ever going to overcome the impact of investor class influence in government, it will be by the working class once again standing up and saying no.
It’s a numbers game. They may have nearly all the money, but we have the vast majority of the people, and dollar bills don’t get a vote on election day.
(John Moyle is an award-winning freelance writer and former member of IBEW Local 1)